UC Santa Cruz
Large-scale ecological responses to climate change in space and time
Recent climate change is posing tremendous impacts on our planet, but how do Earth's species and ecosystems respond? Here I discuss two aspects of large-scale ecological responses to climate change: geographical range shift in space and phenological shift in time. The biogeographical resurvey analysis suggests widespread upslope species migration in response to warming in North and South Americas. In particular, tropical montane plants and animals were tracking climate more closely than their temperate counterparts. The remote sensing analysis suggests an overall extension of the growing season with concurrent warming across the Northern Hemisphere, with stronger climate tracking at higher latitudes. Phenological shifts outpaced that of temperature change in natural landscapes but lagged behind those in human-dominated landscapes. Examining large-scale responses in space and time may benefit scaling ecological insights into the Earth system.